“Sun Ra in Chicago”

(Interesting bit adding to yesterday’s post: According to the official Arkestra website, no legal birth certificate exists for the man who called himself “Sun Ra.” All information about his birth comes from the Library of Congress, who has hold of a passport giving his legal name as “Le Sony’r Ra.”) In Chicago, Sun Ra’s music … Continue reading

“Arrived on the Planet”

According to Sun Ra, he was not “born.” Instead he liked to say he had “arrived on the planet,” as early as 1055 A.D. He arrived as Sonny Blount to a family in Birmingham, Alabama on May 22, 1914, which makes him much older than many of his contemporary jazz musicians. But such is the … Continue reading

“Sun Ra’s Musical Spirit”

If you have 28:58 to spare, you can watch this entire interview with Sun Ra, recorded by Detroit Black Television in 1981. (I found it on Dangerous Minds.) In case you don’t, I will list my standout favorite parts: Fundamental to getting hooked on Ra’s music is realizing it is, as he says, “not music … Continue reading

Maggie Jones sings Suicide Blues (1925)

“Suicide Blues” sung by Maggie Jones (1925), via¬†Internet Archive Just found this great blues recording while searching for “Fletcher Henderson.” As far as I can tell, Maggie Jones worked with Fletcher Henderson, but he had nothing to do with this song. – Sz

“The Black Man in the Cosmos”

“The Black Man in the Cosmos (mp3)” It may not be as optimistic as “I Have a Dream,” but this lecture by Sun Ra is¬†every bit as engaging and eloquent. It comes from 1971, during a course Sun Ra was invited to teach at University of California, Berkeley. The syllabus reportedly included hard-to-find books on … Continue reading